Sports' Forgotten Heroes

Warren Rogan

Sports' Forgotten Heroes is a tribute to the stars who shaped the games we love to watch and the games we love to play. Sports' Forgotten Heroes is not about reliving the careers of superstars we talk about every day like Muhammed Ali, Jim Brown, Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan. Rather, Sports' Forgotten Heroes is about the stars who have faded away with time. Some were elected to their respective Hall of Fame, others might have had one great season, or just one great game that will live in infamy. Guys like Billy Cannon, Ed Delahanty and Bill Barilko - stars whom time has forgotten. read less

Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) - Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer
23-11-2022
Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) - Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer
Thanksgiving Day, 1924. The recently-established tradition of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers football team hosting the Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions on the afternoon of the national autumnal holiday continues. Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is sent to cover the Pitt-Penn State “Keystone Classic” of 1924; in so doing, he discovers a throughline of the football-on-Thanksgiving tradition going back to 1621 (okay, actually, that’s going back to 1869) and reminds us that high-level football games on Thanksgiving are nearly as old as the official Thanksgiving holiday itself.  Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is an audio drama podcast from Number 80 Productions and the Sports History Network.Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) script & story by Os Davis. Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer stars Doug Fye, Ilona Fye, and Eric Bodwell. Thanksgiving and Football (or maybe Vice Versa) co-stars, in order of appearance, Caedmon Holland, Forrest Hartl and Wayne Brett.Additional direction by Eric Bodwell. Sound recording and primary editing by Don McIver.The theme song of Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is “the Dayton Triangles Rag” and was arranged and performed by Bruce Smith. Other tracks in this episode include•  “Jazz Club” by Kriss (available through fair-use agreement via FreeMusicArchive.org);•  “Litany of the Street” by Silverman Sound Studios;•  “Bimini Bay” (1921) by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago; and•  “Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer (Outro)” by David Liso of Dynamo Stairs.Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer is produced by Os Davis and Darin Hayes. Series concept by Darrin Hayes.Stay tuned for more episodes of Orville Mulligan: Sports Writer – coming soon!
SHN Presents: Marty's Illegal Stick (A Hockey History Podcast) - SHN Trailers
07-09-2022
SHN Presents: Marty's Illegal Stick (A Hockey History Podcast) - SHN Trailers
Marty's Illegal Stick is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear.NETWORK SPONSORSRow One - the vintage shop for sports history fans!HIGHLIGHTED SHOWMarty’s Illegal Stick a Hockey History Podcast is exactly that – a podcast dedicated to hockey history. Each week, host Scott Kinville and co-host Dave “The Save” Warner hop on the Zamboni Time Machine and go back in time to look at the characters, teams, and events that make up hockey’s glorious history!Marty’s Illegal Stick a Hockey History Podcast is recorded in upstate New York about thirty miles from the home of the legendary Clinton Comets as well as the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Parts of the classic hockey movie “Slap Shot” were recorded at he Aud – including the infamous “I’m listening to the f-ing song” scene during the national anthem!Marty’s Illegal Stick a Hockey History Podcast is of course named after one of the most notorious moments in Stanley Cup history. Although Marty McSorley is remembered for this lapse in judgement when it comes to stick selection, in fact the LA Kings would not have made it to the final were it not for McSorley’s stellar play that season. Although the show is named for an incident that happened in the NHL, Marty’s Illegal Stick a Hockey History Podcast covers hockey history from any league and any time period.You can subscribe to Marty’s Illegal Stick a Hockey History Podcast on YouTube and all major podcast platforms. You find the show on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at https://martysillegalstick.com. If you like hockey history, you’re going to love this show!Learn more about the show on the Sports History Network.
122 Dave Bancroft - MLB
31-08-2022
122 Dave Bancroft - MLB
The greatest players to have ever appeared in a Major League Baseball game are honored and immortalized in Cooperstown, New York at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson. Ted William and Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle and Stan Musial. Of course there's Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver and more recently Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mariano Rivera. But there are dozens upon dozens more who have been enshrined and whose stories we know so little about. Names very few of us recognize. Guys like Dan Brouthers, Deacon White, Bid McPhee and George Davis. Guys who had great careers, but guys whom we know so little about - not matter how deserving of a plaque they are. Another of those names is Dave Bancroft. He made his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1915 and led them to a World Series appearance. A career .279 hitter, Bancroft enjoyed his best years with the New York Giants for whom he hit .310 and played shortstop on a team that went to three straight World Series and twice came out on top, beating the New York Yankees in 1921 and 1922. Bancroft was a "beauty" at shortstop. In fact, his game might most be compared to that of a more recent defensive "wiz" - Ozzie Smith. On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, author Tom Alesia joins for a wonderful conversation about one of baseball's most obscure Hall of Famers - Dave Bancroft. Tom's new book, "Beauty At Short" is a terrific retrospective on a career so many know so little about. Tom and I talk about Dave's early struggles at the plate, his defensive genius in the field, his desire to manage, his days as a playing-manager with the Boston Braves, his days as a Manager in the All America Girls Baseball Association and Dave's life off the field.
Hale America Nat'l Open - PGA
14-06-2022
Hale America Nat'l Open - PGA
In 1941, the USGA cancelled the U.S. Open because of World War II. But the strange thing about the cancellation is the fact that the USGA still staged a tournament, the Hale America National Open. Now, while it was moved from Interlachen in Minnesota to the new Ridgemoor Country Club just outside of Chicago, there were very few differences between the Hale America and a U.S. Open. Ridgemoor was an easier course. The U.S. Open Championship trophy was not awarded. But consider this: there was qualifying, just like today; guys like Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret, Lloyd Mangrum and Bobby Jones all entered, a medal very similar to the one handed to winner of the U.S. Open was handed to the winner of the Hale America, and the list goes on. So, why did/does the USGA not consider the Hale America National Open a U.S. Open? Peter May, author of the book, "The Open Question" is here to explore that question. We discuss the many similarities. If the Hale America was considered to be a U.S. Open, amazingly, it would have been the first Major Championship won by Ben Hogan and, in total, Hogan would have won the U.S. Open five times! As it is, only Hogan, Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus won the U.S. Open four times. Should Hogan be credited with a fifth? Well, of course he thought so. Listen to today's podcast about this forgotten tournament, one of which the USGA has basically stricken from the record books, and decide for yourself.
Winnipegs - CFL/NFL
31-05-2022
Winnipegs - CFL/NFL
The CFL, Canadian Football League, launches its 2022 campaign on Thursday, June 9 when the Calgary Stampeders host the Montreal Alouettes. On Friday, June 10 the Winnipeg Blue Bombers start their journey to try and win a third-straight Grey Cup when they host the Ottawa Redblacks. Winnipeg has quite the history. They were the first western-based team to win the Cup when they topped Hamilton 18-12 in 1935. The road to the championship was an interesting one for the "Winnipegs". Yes, they were only known as the Winnipegs during their first few years of play. The Winnipegs were a decent team, but not a very strong team. To turn their fortunes around, and to become a stronger championship-contending team, the Winnipegs looked to the Lower-48 for help. They found it. Today, I'm not so sure the way the Winnipegs put their team together would be greatly appreciated. The Winnipegs were dominated by an American presence in the form of stars like Bob Fritz, Bert Oja, Joe Perpich, Bud Marquardt, Herb Peschel and others. These stars who learned the game playing for teams like North Dakota State, St. Bonaventure and Concordia College led the Winnipegs to an 11-0 record in 1935. They outscored the opposition 228-43 and posted four shutouts. On this edition of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, I take a look back at this remarkable team with R.C. Christiansen, author of the book, "Border Boys: How Americans from Border Colleges Helped Western Canada to Win a Football Championship".
Sam Byrd - MLB/PGA
14-05-2022
Sam Byrd - MLB/PGA
Sam Byrd had a bright future ahead of him in baseball. A solid hitter and an even better outfielder, he had one huge issue facing him. He played for the New York Yankees and there was guy named Babe Ruth ahead of him. So, Byrd took his seat on the bench and patiently waited for an opportunity. When he got a chance to play, he did well. But never enough to supplant Ruth. In his spare time, Byrd not only worked to improve his game at the plate, but he also continued to refine his skills on the golf course. In fact, he was so good on the links, that guys like Ruth never stood a chance against him. Sam would enter a tournament, here and there, and win. He toyed with the idea of playing highly competitive golf on the PGA TOUR, but baseball paid the bills. When Sam finally got a chance on the diamond, he got hurt and when he returned he again had to take a seat on the bench. After trying to breakthrough with the Yankees for six years, Sam finally realized his dream of taking the field every day by virtue of a trade to the Cincinnati Reds. Now 27-years old, Sam was the team's regular right fielder. He hit a respectable .262 with nine home runs and 52 RBI. But it wasn't enough to earn the starting job the following season, 1936, and Sam once again found himself on the bench. At the end of the 1936 season, Sam was released by the Reds and claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals. However, Sam had had enough. All along, he continued to work on his golf game and decided to make the PGA TOUR his full time vocation (he actually joined the TOUR in 1933). What a great choice. Instead of riding the pine and playing second-fiddle in MLB, Sam walked the fairways with the likes of Hogan, Nelson and Snead. Over the course of a career that wound down in 1949, Sam won 11 times, finished as high as 3rd in The Masters (1941), 2nd in the PGA Championship and 16th in the U.S. Open. He won the Greater Greensboro Open, the Chicago Victory National Open and The Texas Open in 1945. A solid career as a professional golfer, Sam is the only person to have appeared in a baseball World Series and The Masters. Stephen Rice, who penned a terrific biography about SAM for the BioProject for SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) is on this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes to talk about the great dual career of Samuel Byrd.
Lloyd Mangrum-PGA TOUR
12-04-2022
Lloyd Mangrum-PGA TOUR
36 times Lloyd Mangrum collected the winner's check on the PGA TOUR. He set the course record at The Masters. Won the U.S. Open in 1946 (almost won it again in 1950, but lost in the famous playoff to Ben Hogan). Twice he finished third in the PGA. Twice he finished second at The Masters. He was the TOUR's leading money winner in 1951 and won the Vardon Trophy twice (1951 and 1953). He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998. Yet, after he retired from the game, many of the newer generation of golfers (1990s), guys who knew Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, golfers whom Mangrum competed with and beat, were asked about Mangrum and they didn't know who he was. Incredible. Mangrum had an illustrious career. In addition to all the aforementioned facts, he also played on four Ryder Cup teams, was the team's playing captain in 1953 and compiled an overall record of 6-2-0. How can he be forgotten? Off the course, Mangrum was the recipient of two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts and was a Staff Sergeant in the Army during World War II. Lloyd Mangrum was not boisterous. His nickname, "The Icicle", represented his steely mannerisms on the golf course. he was tough. He was focused. He was great. On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, golf writer and author, Peter May, whose recent book, "The Open Question" from Rowman and Littlefield is a must-read for all fans of the sport, joins the podcast for an in-depth discussion about a golfer whom time has forgotten, but whose accomplishments deserve significantly more recognition.
Effa Manley-MLB
29-03-2022
Effa Manley-MLB
There have been very few women to own a Major League Baseball franchise. The most notable, Marge Schott, owned the CIncinnati Reds from 1984 to 1999. Before her came Helene Hathaway Robison Britton who inherited the the St. Louis Cardinals. After Britton came Joan Payson, the first owner of the New York Mets and the first woman to own an MLB franchise without inheriting it. But, there was another. Effa Manley owned the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League from 1936 thru 1948. A woman in a man's world, the Eagles were one of the cornerstones of the Negro Leagues along with teams such as the Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords and Kansas City Monarchs. And, while Manley ran a tight ship and was one of the more vocal owners in the Negro Leagues, it was what she did away from the game that truly separated her from her fellow owners. An activist always fighting for minority rights, she made a difference not just on the baseball diamond, but away from it too. And, much to the surprise of many, her background just might lead one to ponder why she did what she did. So, who was Effa Manley and what was her background? On this episode of SFH, author James Overmyer joins me for a fascinating conversation about the first woman to be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. She received that honor in 2006, long after she passed. Overmyer who recently released a book on Manley's life, "Queen of the Negro Leagues," published by Rowman & Littlefield, uncovered so much about Manley's life and shares much of it with me from her unique upbringing to how she fought for the rights of African-Americans to how she became owner of one of the Negro League's legendary teams to her fight to integrate Major League Baseball. Check out this episode of SFH now for the story of one of baseball's extraordinary personalities and pioneers.
Cleveland Barons-NHL
15-03-2022
Cleveland Barons-NHL
One of the most obscure teams in the history of the NHL is the Cleveland Barons. In existence for just two years, the Barons moved to Cleveland from Oakland where they were first known as the California Golden Seals and ultimately merged with the Minnesota North Stars who are now the Dallas Stars. After playing in front of few fans and experiencing financial hardships in Oakland, the Seals packed up during the summer of 1977 and headed east to Cleveland. Ownership thought it had uncovered a great location for the team. Cleveland's AHL team had once been invited to join the NHL - although that version of the Barons turned down the offer. Now, the NHL was coming. Cleveland had a new arena, and 18,000-seat palace known as the Richfield Coliseum. But, the location of the Coliseum, the fact that the Seals owner, Mel Swig, had never been to Cleveland, failed to research the region's appetite for hockey, failed to market the team in any meaningful way, and the failed to study the issues that the previous barons faced and the difficulties the Cleveland Crusaders of the WHA experienced all spelled doom for the Barons. What followed were two incredibly disappointing seasons. The Barons played in front of empty seats. In their first year (1977-78), average attendance was just 6,194 per game, and in their second season attendance fell to 5,676 per game. A television contract could not be found and radio coverage was barely adequate. The team did have a few stars in Dennis Maruk (Dennis joined SFH for episode 18), Jim Neilson and Gilles Meloche, but there wasn't enough depth on the team and they struggled to score goals and win games. The lack of marketing and fan support led to more financial hardships and the team was thisclose to missing payroll and shutting down in the middle of the season. Gary Webster returns to SFH for an in-depth conversation on all that went wrong in Cleveland. He recently authored a book, published by MacFarland and Company called, "The NHL's Mistake By The Lake: A History of the Cleveland Barons." Gary covers it all, from the original Barons and Crusaders, to the dysfunction of Swig's ownership group, the team's performance on the ice, the want to save the team and the eventual merger with Minnesota. Amazingly, Gary even notes that very few who lived in Cleveland at the time - and still live there - even know that the Barons existed.
Leo Houck-Boxing
01-03-2022
Leo Houck-Boxing
When he was just 14, Leo Houck decided to step into the ring and give boxing a try. He loved it! For the next 24-years he made it his life. And he was pretty darned good at it too. In fact, over the course of his career, Leo never suffered a knockout. But he sure dished out punishment. According to BoxRec, Leo fought 210 times finishing his career with 144 wins, 39 losses and 27 draws. When Leo fought, though, it was a different game. There were no governing bodies like there are today; and even though Leo thumped then middleweight champion George Chip, he didn't knock him out. So, Leo beat the champ, but didn't win the title. Nonetheless, Leo kept on boxing and became a top-contender for the Light Heavyweight Championship. Although he never actually was crowned champion of any weight class, Leo was one of the most feared and dominant boxers of his era. On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, I discuss the extraordinary career of Leo Houck with Randy Swope author of a terrific biography on Leo, "Leo Houck: A Biography of Boxing's Uncrowned Middleweight Champion". Randy's research is thorough and our conversation covers such interesting aspects about Leo's career such as: 6-round bouts, 20-round bouts, fighting once a week (sometimes on back-to-back nights), his reluctance to fight overseas and his desire to stay home and fight, but most importantly, the two most critical areas that might have cost him more opportunities: 1.) his apathy towards fellow boxers whom he knew he had defeated so he decided not to knock them out ... 2.) his failure to hire better representation (management), and that might have cost him the opportunity for more championship bouts. But, in the end, there were/are few in long history of boxing who have/had accomplished as much as Leo Houck.
Atlanta Thrashers-NHL
15-02-2022
Atlanta Thrashers-NHL
The NHL expanded to Atlanta for the 1972-73 season with the Flames. The team quickly became a perennial playoff team qualifying for the post-season in just its second season. In fact, in the eight years that the Flames called Atlanta home, they made the playoffs six times (although they never advanced past the first round). After the 1979-80 season, the Flames packed up and left the south for Calgary where they have enjoyed sellouts and a Stanley Cup Championship in 1988-89; and made it to the Finals in two other seasons. The NHL, however, was not done in Atlanta. The expansion Thrashers took the ice for the 1999-2000 season. But they never experienced the on-ice successes as their predecessors did. In fact, in 11 seasons, the Thrashers only made the playoffs once (2006-07) when they won the Southeast Division and lost in the first round to the New York Rangers. After the 2010-11 season, the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg where they have enjoyed sellout crowds and a modicum of success in the playoffs. So, what went wrong in Atlanta for the Thrashers? On this episode of Sports' Forgotten Heroes, Curtis Walker, author of the book, "Broken Wings" joins the podcast to talk about the team's failures off the ice, which led to its eventual departure. Walker's book goes into great detail about Thrasher's General Manager Don Waddell and his continual misses in the draft, poor trades and the problems with ownership. Should the NHL have expanded to Atlanta? What lessons were learned? And, should the NHL give Atlanta another chance? I explore it all with Curtis in the in-depth episode the chronicles a team that had decent success at the gate, but anything other than success on the ice.